As per the directives of the Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), a committee will monitor and review the meat prices in the thromde and submit it in the upcoming DT session.

According to the last DT’s resolution, the DT, the committee should be formed following the complaints from the public on the expensive meat prices in the dzongkhag.

The committee secretary, Namgay Wangdi, said they have come up with the new price after consulting with the meat vendors and comparing the existing prices and even with the prices in other thromdes.

A corporate employee, Rinzin Dorji, said he does not eat meat every day but he needs to buy when he has guests at home. “I cannot afford to buy even one to two kilos of meat because of the high price.”

He said that the meat price across the border is cheaper compared to Samdrupjongkhar town but he does not buy as the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) officials at the border gate seized the items.

“A kg of pork cost Nu 180 and chicken from across the border but here it cost Nu 200 for a kg of pork and Nu 190 for a kg of chicken,” he said. “But we have to buy beef from Samdrupjongkhar since there is no beef across the border. It cost Nu 200 to 250 a kg.”

However, the owner of Suresh meat shop, Gopal, said he sells pork and chickens in his shop and people do not complaints about the pork and chicken. “They mostly complain about beef, as there is no fixed rate for the beef in the market.”

He said that they buy pork from India at the wholesale rate of Nu 180 per kilo and Nu 185 per kilo chicken, adding they sell at Nu 200 per kilo pork and Nu 190 per kilo chicken. “We don’t have much profit because we have to bear all the tax and transportation charges.”

He said they are running the meat shops with less profit and if the committee comes with the new rate, which could be less than the existing rate, they would face problem to pay house rent and salary for the staff.

Another meat shop owner, Prem, 26, said he sells boneless beef for Nu 250 and with bone for Nu 200 per kilo, adding that he pays 3,500 rent for the shop and has three staff. “I get only Nu 20 as profit after bearing all the taxes and transportation charges.”

He said that since they import meat from India, the price of the meat has also increased at the sources. “It would help if the committee could review the prices to benefit both the sellers and consumers.”

The owner of Tropical Meat Shop, Yeshi Pelden, said she sells boneless for Nu 240 and with bone for Nu 200. “We used to sell boneless for Nu 220 and with bone for Nu 190 before but we have now increased the price because the price from the sources has also increased.”

Meanwhile, there are about five meat shops in Samdrupjongkhar.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar